By Chris Murray
PHILADELPHIA–After striking out three times in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Championship Series, a very laid back Jimmy Rollins told reporters in the Phillies clubhouse that he was close to breaking out of a 1-for 15 slump. He said he knew what he needed to do at the plate intellectually, but had to feel it.
“I see what I’m doing, but it’s a just matter of feeling it and when you feel what you’re doing, it’s just matter of making the corrections,” he said. “You figure things out. You solve problems. Sometimes there’s going to be confusion. But once you lose the confidence, you’re not going to play at this level.”
As esoteric and as metaphysical at that sounds, J-Roll once again proved he was a man of his word.
In Game 2, Rollins broke out of his hitting woes with an emphatic performance. He drove in four-runs, including a clutch three-run double that capped a four-run seventh while enabling the Phillies to even the NLCS at game apiece with a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of 46, 099 towel-waving fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.
For Rollins, who had been moved from the lead off spot to the sixth spot in the Phils batting order, it was his first breakout performance of the postseason, something he and Charlie Manuel had been looking for throughout the post season.
“This is a game of adjustments,” Rollins said. “You look at video and you try to see things, that’s step one. And like I said, as you try to make that adjustment by feeling what you’re doing incorrectly, sometimes you just put a good swing on a ball, find some gap. Hopefully, I can take what I did today and just keep it going.”
Rollins drove in his first run without taking a swing when he walked with the bases loaded in the first inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. His next hit came in the fourth inning when Giants third baseman Mike Fontenot misplayed a pop fly that bounced in front of him. The official scorer gave Rollins a single, something that the Phils shortstop took with joy and gladness considering the horrendous slump he had been in prior to Game 2.
“Anytime you see Jimmy swinging the bat, it’s great, It’s what it’s about,” said centerfielder Shane Victorino. “It’s about all of us swinging the bat. Collectively, we did some good things tonight. We didn’t come out with a 10-15 hit barrage, but we were able to manufacture some runs.”
With the bases loaded and two out in the seventh, Rollins buried the Giants for good with a double off the right field wall. When the inning was over, he got a standing ovation from the crowd, who were chanting, “J-Roll, J-Roll!”
Ryan Howard said Rollins supreme confidence even under the most difficult of circumstances is what keeps him and the team from getting to down when slumps like this occur from time to time.
“He knows how talented he is, he knows that this is a part of the game,” Howard said. “You have to take the good with the bad. When you’re in a slump, you’re bound to come out and when you come out, you just run with it.”
Meanwhile, pitcher Roy Oswalt turned in another masterful pitching performance from the Phils highly-touted starting rotation. In eight innings of work, he allowed a homerun by the Phillies nemesis Cody Ross and just three hits while striking out nine. He helped his own cause by starting the four-run seventh rally with a single. He later scored on a single by Placido Polanco after running through the stop sign by third base coach Sam Perlozzo.
“The first thing in my mind score, when I got halfway, I saw the stop sign, I said it was too late, no turning back now, ” Oswalt said smiling.